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Dan Skuta Embraces 49ers Mentality

Posted Mar 15, 2013

New 49ers LB Dan Skuta fits right in with the team's blue-collar approach.

San Francisco’s new linebacker already fits right in.

After spending all of Thursday at 49ers headquarters, Dan Skuta, a former special teams standout of the Cincinnati Bengals, signed a two-year deal later in the evening.

Skuta immediately felt at home in his new surroundings and wanted to join the 2012 NFC Conference Champions.
 
The hard-working native of Flint, Mich., wasn't aware of the team’s tradition of wearing blue collar work shirts, but his eyes lit up when hearing about the custom brought to the 49ers two years ago by coach Jim Harbaugh.
 
"I didn't know that, but that's cool," The 6-foot-2, 250-pound linebacker told 49ers.com. "I'm going to be fighting for one of those for sure."
 
After looking at Skuta's background, one might assume he already has a few blue collar shirts hanging in his closet.
 
In five seasons with the Bengals, Skuta recorded 56 special teams tackles in 56 games. He never missed a game either.

He also had to earn every opportunity the hard way.

Skuta signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and played well enough to make the practice squad. One month later, Skuta was promoted to the active roster and immediately made an impact on special teams, finishing the year with 10 tackles.
 
In 2010, Skuta was nominated by the coaching staff to represent the team on the AFC Pro Bowl ballot for special teams.
 
"I always have the mindset that I'm going to make the play every time and never take a play off," Skuta said. "I'm in the position to make the play and having that mindset that you're never going to get blocked is something that I've tried to do."
 
That mentality certainly fits the mold of what special teams coordinator Brad Seely looks for in his players. Moments after signing with the 49ers, Skuta’s Twitter feed starting filling up with ecstatic fans commenting on how he would be joining the "Tony Montana Squad."
 
"I knew that they played the song and people were tweeting me about it. I was like, 'I don't really know what that means,'" Skuta said jokingly. "I just know that Brad Seely is an excellent coach. I'm excited to play for him, excited to be a part of that whole thing."
 
Skuta, however, is more than just a special teams ace. He’s filled in as a backup linebacker and made seven tackles in his first career start back in 2011. Skuta also lined up at fullback for the Bengals during the 2010 preseason.
 
With that experience in all three phases of the game, Skuta hopes to continue expanding his role in San Francisco.
 
"That's something I've always been good at," Skuta said. "If they were to do that here, I would be excited. I feel like I'm pretty smart and can learn a lot of different things and be used in a lot of different ways. If that's what helps the team, then I'd definitely be excited to do it."
 
In addition, Skuta feels confident about helping the team based on his track record of never missing a game in five NFL seasons.
 
"In that many games, you're going to have something nagging you," Skuta said. "That's just the way the NFL is. I do take pride in playing through stuff like that. It kind of goes back to the blue collar thing and being a hard worker."
 
Skuta’s hard work has paid off. He’s now on his third NFL contract, which is a true success story for an undrafted free agent out of Grand Valley State.
 
"It's nice to carve out a niche," Skuta said. "I think I'm only getting started as far as that goes. I want to keep getting better every year and be a part of more special teams units, getting in on more downs and helping the team more and more. I'm excited to do that."